FPQuest Trail Log – October 14, 2018

My fountain pen usage jumped in the past week. Rather than trying to write something specific, like a journal entry, I made it a point to write 15 minutes a night. As is the case for most things (at least for me), getting started is the hard part. Fifteen minutes is so daunting as to provide an excuse not to start. Typically, once I start I easily exceed 15 minutes. It also helped that I watched the Red Sox beat the Yankees a few nights. Unlike past attempts at forming a habit, the lack of an alternative motive such as journalling avoids the “I don’t feel like it” excuses.” More often than not the paper ended up in the garbage when I was done. I also had a slight increase in my fountain pen usage for my regular daily-to-day work.

Esterbrook Estie with #9550 nib Estie with #9550 nib

I wrote one pen dry and did it twice. My new Esterbrook Estie was written dry with the JoWo fine stock nib and Sheaffer Red ink. Then I switched to Esterbrook nibs. After some struggles, I settled on a vintage Esterbrook #9460 rigid medium nib. Performance of thinner nibs in the MV adapter was abysmal. I stayed with Sheaffer Red ink and also wrote it dry. I’m back to a thinner #9550 Firm Extra FIne nib. After some tweaking, the performance doesn’t sink to the level of abysmal, but it’s far below the performance in a Vintage Esterbrook J pen with the same nib, ink & paper.

Housekeeping: Long ago I experimented with subscribing to blogs via email rather than RSS. It was a failure; I’m an RSS guy. I’m only now getting around to unsubscribing from the emails. If you happened to notice that I unsubscribed to email, I do still read, just via RSS.

Links

My Sketching Update — The Finer Point

canetas e coisas: AURORA

12 Artists and How They Use Fountain Pens – Goulet Pens Blog

Crónicas Estilográficas: Tokyo International Pen Show 2018. A Stationery Salon

A Peek at the Pen Cup: Mean, Green, Certainly Not Lean – Fountain Pen Follies

Dallas Pen Show – Auctions – Scholarship Updates – – Newton Pens – Since 2012

Benu Chameleon Fountain Pen Review – Pens! Paper! Pencils!

My Supply Room: Dallas Pen Show 2018

Crónicas Estilográficas: The Case of Naginata. I. The Press Release

Fountain Pen Network Philippines Hosts First Manila Fountain Pen Show | Rants of The Archer

Pen of the Day: Nakaya Piccolo in Polished Shu with Nick Stewart Randal Ink – Fountain Pen Follies

News: Pelikan Raises U.S. Prices « The Pelikan’s Perch

Some early thoughts on the Parker Duofold International Big Red fountain pen. | Fountain pen blog

Mid-Week Mini: Inktober Progress so far… — The Finer Point

New Stamps and Letter Writing Club – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

My Supply Room: Pens From The Pen Show

Senator Windsor – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Five Months: an Extended Test of Platinum Carbon Black Pigment Ink – Fountain Pen Follies

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Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – September 30, 2018

My fountain pen usage continues to be what I consider average for me. I keep trying to get back into the journaling habit but continue to fail. Actually, I’ve fallen out of several habits lately, but that’s a different story.

No pens went dry the past two weeks, and there was one new arrival which was immediately inked up. My most used pen was the Fisher of Pens Hermes, although I did try to give the other seven inked pens a chance.

The new fountain pen is the Esterbrook Estie with the optional MV adapter for Esterbrook nibs. The pen arrived Thursday afternoon, so I haven’t had much time with it. My first impressions are mixed. I’ll try to pull my thoughts together for a This Just In post later in the week.

Esterbrook Estie - in box

##Links

Hobonichi Techo Planner A6 | The Passionate Penman

Some silly mistakes with the Faber-Castell Basic (black carbon) and how to avoid them. | Fountain pen blog

A NEW future for fountain pen inks – FOUNTAIN PEN INKS AND BLEACH

What’s in My Pen Roll: Fall Currently Inked – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

How to Get Started with Daily Journaling – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

Thread by @Miridunn: “ATTENTION FRIENDS: Since Mom died this past Spring, my 92 YO dad waits for mail every day. Listens for the squeak of the mail slot opening. […]”

Platinum 3776 Revisited: My Thoughts 2+ Years Later — The Gentleman Stationer

Pelikan Hubs 2018, the Year of Pelikan Edelstein Olivine – Page 2 – Fountain Pen Follies

Which Is The Best Pen? – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Pennaquod : Pen Blog Searcher // I’ve linked to this before, but it’s time for a reminder of this excellent service.

 

A Medium Bias

Favorite Medium Nibs (L-R Aurora Optima, Visconti Brunelleschi, Sailor KOP, MB Ultra Black (OM)

My fondness for thin nibs is not a secret. But, there was a long period where I was actively anti-medium. For example, if I wanted a different nib for the sake of variety, I’d go for a broad nib over a medium, even though a medium would be closer to my preference.

I have no doubt that this cost me money. Most of these broad nibs were rarely used and were sold or ground into something else (usually thinner). I continued this anti-medium bias, picking a broad nib for variety even though I knew I wouldn’t use it enough.

My first fountain pens were medium nibs because that was the only option I saw on the shelves, and I didn’t know any better. After discovering, and falling in love with thin nibs, I began to view medium nibs as a compromise that was forced upon me, and I resented them. One feature of a compromise is that it has something everyone can hate, so anti-medium became even more ingrained than it should have.

In late 2015 my anti-medium attitude began to dissipate. I bought the Cherry Bamboo Vanishing Point with a medium nib, although I did have it ground to a left oblique. Not a dull compromise medium, but a medium none the less. And I liked the nib. Later that year I picked up boring medium nib on a Franklin-Christoph Model 20 and liked it. I did consider a broad, or another style nib, but I finally accepted I wouldn’t use something wider than a medium.

The in 2016 all my bias melted away. I purchased seven pens with nibs, of which five were mediums, and a sixth was a medium oblique. This was the year I also bought the Sailor King of Pen, which has a medium as the thinness nib option. I knew the Sailor bespoke nibs would be lost on me and not worth the price (to me). The KOP and medium nib are now among my favorites and is nearly always inked.

In 2017 I bought my Visconti Brunelleschi, a pen similar in size, and with the same nib, as my Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age. I didn’t want the same extra fine nib. This typically where I would have gone with a broad nib. By now I realized I wouldn’t use a broad nib enough to justify the cost of the pen. So I picked a medium nib.

While thin nibs are still my preference for everyday use, if I had held onto my anti-medium bias, I wouldn’t have had a several of my favorite pens: the Aurora Optima, Visconti Brunelleschi, Sailor KOP. Plus, I would have been less willing to chance an oblique medium.

Favorite Medium Nib Pens

Favorite Medium Nibs (L-R Aurora Optima, Visconti Brunelleschi, Sailor KOP, MB Ultra Black (OM)

This Just In: TWSBI Go x 2

TWSBI Go Fountain Pen - cappedTWSBI’s latest pen is called the Go which enters the sub-$20 category. I’m not a huge fan of TWSBI pens in general. I can see why people like them, but for me the quality issues I’ve experienced outweigh any cost savings. Plus, I’m not a fan of translucent pens unless they are clear. The TWSBI Go intrigued me enough to give TWSBI another go (sorry).

I had money in the PayPal account, and I haven’t bought any fountain pens this year. So, I bought two of them. I got the Smoke version with an extra fine nib. I picked a broad nob for the Sapphire model. Neither the sapphire color (a blue) or the broad nib are typical choices for me, so I put them both in the same pen. I’ll probably use it for testing new inks. While I have filled both fountain pens, I’ve only really used the extra fine TWSBI Go.

The TWSBI Go is a sub-$20 piston filler fountain pen that seems well made, although it is plastic. TWSBI has a reputation of making pens with a tendency to crack or leak. Their more recent pens have seemed to have fewer complaints (although it’s possible I just haven’t paid attention). This pen design seems to limit the opportunity for problems, although it is plastic (except for the spring and nib) and I can’t speak to durability. The nib is removable for cleaning or swapping, although I haven’t done it. I would expect frequent disassembly to eventually cause breaks or leaks. I haven’t removed the nib, and don’t plan to, so I can’t speak to how hard or easy this is.

There’s no clip, but a small roll stop is molded into to clip. The roll stop is also designed to allow a lanyard to be threaded through it. I guess a lanyard could be a thing, but not for me. It’s a small roll stop, so if the pen has any momentum it won’t stop the roll.

It is a chunky pen, which does appeal to me. The pen does post, although it’s long enough for me to comfortably use unposted. The cap is very light, so posting doesn’t affect the balance. I don’t post the pen unless I need a place to store the cap. Speaking of the cap, it’s a pressure fit cap which snaps firmly into place. There isn’t any cap band so cracking may eventually occur.

TWSBI Go Fountain Pens - springsThe spring is visible through the pen body which gives it a steampunk look. At first I was thinking this is more like a vacuum filler, but it is a piston. Rather than screwing the piston up to suck in ink, the spring raises the piston for us. So spring-loaded piston filler is an accurate description in my opinion. Filling the pen is simple. Unscrew the body to expose the piston. Immerse the nib in ink, push the piston down and then release it. While simple, I’m not sure it’s significantly easier than a screw piston. One-handed operation seems possible, although it’s risky. While the filling system is far from revolutionary, I do like different filling systems, and find this a fun addition to my accumulation.

The TWSBI Go stops short of being a pen I want to use. The extra fine Go shared my pen case with a Fisher of Pens Hermès and I always pick the Hermès over the Go unless I want a second color of ink. That said, both the extra fine and broad nibs are smooth writers and the pens written well. I still have concerns about the durability, although more because of past experience than any obvious issues. The TWSBI Go is an inexpensive pen, and if it cracks after a year of heavy use and abuse, I’d consider it money well spent and buy another.

TWSBI Go Fountain Pens - uncapped

 

This Just In: Nock Co. Tallulah (Kickstarter)

Nock Co Tallulah Pen Case  - open and flatI backed this year’s Pen Addict Live Kickstarter campaign which included a Nock Co. Tallulah pen case. I received my case just after Labor Day, and I’ve been using it since.

The Kickstarter Tallulah pen case is a two-pen zipper case with a clay exterior, black trim, and a bright Sunshine Yellow interior. This colorway is unique to this Kickstarter campaign. When I first saw the photos, I thought rust for color. I had read clay as the color before seeing the picture I would have expected a deep grey color. On the other hand, the color is a lot like terra cotta. So, the color name is appropriate. I was deep in my terra cotta phase when the campaign started. I’m not entirely over that obsession, so I like the color.

Inside, the case has two pen slots on the left, and a business card sized pocket on the right. It can lay flat when open. The exterior of the case is 6.25″ x 2.5″. Nock says it’s 0.75″ thick, although that can vary since it’s a cloth case. My largest pen, an Edison Huron Grande, doesn’t fit due to its length. All my other pens do fit, the longer ones being a Franklin-Christoph Model 66 and a Fisher of Pens Hermes. The side pocket fits business cards or Nock Co. Petite Index Cards.

I’ve been carrying the Nock Co Lanier in my daily travels. It’s a light, easy to carry briefcase. The Tallulah is an excellent match to the Lanier. I like that the case is nice and thin, while still providing excellent protection for the pens. I’ve been carrying a TWSBI Go along with my Fisher of Pens Hermès. The Hermès is a long pen. While it is snug, it fits comfortably without pressing against the case. I also carry a couple of business cards, and a few Nock Co Petite Index Cards although I yet to use either of them.

Nock Co Tallulah Pen Case - where the zipper sticks

Nock Co Tallulah Pen Case – where the zipper sticks

I’m a fan of Nock Co. Cases. This is the first one I’ve owned that had a hitch. It’s minor, and a side-effect of being a small case with a quality zipper, rather than a real defect. The corners are tight. When opening, the zipper gets tight at the final corner. It’s not snagging the material, but the material that protects the pens from the metal zipper isn’t rounded at that corner. There’s a little extra material, and it’s bunched up just enough to press against the zipper. I’m developing the muscle memory to pull the zipper out a bit when it reaches that corner.

I’ve been using the Tallulah for a couple of weeks and have enjoyed it. I’ve developed an affinity for carrying three pens, so the two-pen Tallulah caused me some angst in the beginning. My pens aren’t thin enough to carry a third pen. It’s a cloth case, so I’m sure I could get a third pen to fit, especially since I’ve never used a business or index card from the case. But I forced myself to stick with two pens, and I’ve become accustomed to two pens. I’ve yet to regret not having that third pen. (Part of this is because I often have my Fodderstack XL with me, and that has a third fountain pen along with a rollerball.) Adding a third pen to the Tallulah would go against my favorite feature: It’s a thin case that provides excellent protection for the pens.